Monday, October 11, 2010

Did Lao Zi Prophesy the Coming of Jesus?

A philosopher who was involved with the Democracy Movement in China, Yuan Zhiming, makes two bold (some would say "wreckless") claims in his book Lao Zi vs. the Bible: (1) The "Dao" Lao Zi, the founder of Taoism, wrote of is a synonym for God, and (2) the "Sage" (聖人) Lao Zi spoke of is Jesus.

Both these claims sound incredible. Both offend many ears -- atheists who doubt God can speak at all, traditional Chinese who disapprove of what they might perceive as religious imperialism, Christians who are afraid Yuan is falling into the trap of "syncretism."
I've been reading a dissertation this past week that analyzes these two claims. The author interviews 25 Chinese scholars, all but one of them Christians, and most of whom think Yuan has, at least, gotten a bit carried away.

What do you think? This is a new blog, and there are not many readers yet. Also answering the question would involve doing a little homework. But let me throw this out. Read the Dao Dejing -- it will only take an hour, it's a remarkable book well worth your time, and there are dozens of translations. Pay close attention to what the book says about "the Dao" (or "Way," or "Truth," or "Reason," depending on your translation) and "the Sage."

Could Lao Zi have been a theist of some sort?

Might he have been looking, warned perhaps in a dream, for a Savior like Jesus?

Let us know what you think in the comments forum below.


Weekend Fisher said...

I saw an Eastern Orthodox book a number of years ago titled "Christ, the Eternal Tao".

It didn't argue that Lao Zi was a theist warned in a dream about a Savior. It did present the case that the way that Lao Zi glimpsed is, in fact, Jesus.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

David B Marshall said...

Anne: Thanks for reminding me of that. It's an interesting, eccentric book, lots of beautiful illustrations, a lot about the Orthodox Church in China, plus an argument about Jesus and Lao Zi. I have a copy in my office, but I'm in the UK right now -- maybe I'll add a few quotes from it after Thanksgiving.

B.R. said...

This is just another attempt by evangelical Christians to try and slip Jesus into the theology of another religion. A couple years back, they tried the exact same thing with Buddhism, by making up some wild story about how, on his death-bed, Buddha foretold the coming of another Buddha who save everyone from their bad Karma and make Karma "obsolete".

And just to add a little conspiracy to the mix, they further claimed that Buddhas followers were unhappy with this prophecy, and edited it from the Tipataka.

Stupid? Absolutely. But still amusing; how can you not be amused by such fumbling, desperate lairs?

B.R. said...

"Liars", not "lairs". I hat Blogger with a passion; no EDIT button. NOOOOOOOO!!!!

B.R. said...

"Hate", not "hat". Blogger, the High Council of Daleks agree; you should be EXTERMINATED!